Jun 30, 2017

America's birth rate is at another historic low

Women in the United States continue to have fewer children, and when they do, they are usually in their 30s instead of their 20s. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the U.S. fertility rate in 2016 was a historically low 62 births per 1,000 women, down from the 62.5 rate in 2015.

Telling stat: "Birth rates declined to record lows for women in all age groups under 30 years in 2016."

Why it matters: The CDC did not say why the birth rate is declining. But research and surveys have shown several reasons, including wider availability of birth control, personal economic instability from student loans or other debt, women focused on launching a career before starting a family, and a growing acceptance that not everyone wants to have children.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Other interesting data points from the CDC:

  • The CDC estimates the fertility rate in 1960 was about 118 births per 1,000 women, or almost double what it is today.
  • Despite the record low birth rate, more than 3.94 million babies were born in 2016, which was about 37,000 fewer than 2015.
  • The highest birth rate is now among women aged 30-34 at 102.6 births per 1,000 women. Previously, the highest rate had been for women aged 25-29, which fell to 101.9 in 2016.
  • U.S. births by race origin of the mother: 52% white, 23% Hispanic, 14% black, 6% Asian, 1% Native American/native of Alaska, Hawaii or Pacific Islands.

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